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Old 09-10-2003, 07:53 AM
BrierS's Avatar
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Location: Charlestown, NH
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Question Checking Valve Clearance 603 engine

Not finding the answer using "search" I need some guidance. I want to check the valve clearance on my '87 300TD. I purchased the CD set from Fastlane yet have not found enough info to do the procedure. I have a low level ticking (not clatter) when the engine is not under load.

What should the clearances be?
Is the crank nut 27mm?
What is an "ALDA"? I have seen so many references to it yet still haven't figured out what it is, where it is, nor what it does.

Still loving this car and accumulating parts/tools!!!
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Old 09-10-2003, 09:25 AM
Registered Diesel Burner
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Northern Virginia
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Mercedes switched over to hydraulic lifters by the time your car came out, so there is no manual adjustment for the valves.

My 1987 300D has a little valve noise too when cold, and it goes away after the engine warms up. Not enough of an issue for me to go to the trouble of changing out any lifters. If they make noise even after the car has warmed, then it might be time to take some action.

1982 300D at 351K miles
1984 300SD at 217K miles
1987 300D at 370K miles
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Old 09-10-2003, 09:39 AM
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Location: PA
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Do you use synthetic oil in your engine? Its been said here that using synthetic oil, preferable Mobil 1 or Delvac 1, in a 603 series engines will quite valve lifter noise.

The ALDA is the device that causes more fuel to be injected into the engine when it gets turbo boost. If extra fuel isn't injected there will be no power gain from the turbo increasing the manifold pressure. The ALDA also regulates the fuel input depending on the altitude.

The ALDA sits on top of the injection pump and is connected to the intake manifold by a small vacuum or pressure tube similar to the vacuum lines.

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Old 09-10-2003, 10:05 AM
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Thanks for the replies.
I changed to Mobil 1 syn when I did the first oil change after purchasing her. The noise actually started since the change. It is not bad, just a new noise. My thought was that if I could check clearances to determine if adjustment shims are used or possibly tappet discs of various thickness (?).

I attempted to contact the seller since I could not find any record of servicing the timing chain. No response. With 132K it would seem likely something has or should be attended to.

After your reply, I was able to locate the ALDA. Now I'll search for how to check and adjust if necessary.

I wish, as many others DIY owners probably agree, that the CDs had more thorough descriptions. In the past, with other vehicles, I relied on Motor and Haynes manuals. So far, I have not found the best printed sources to gain the type of insight I want. This forum has been invaluable yet I could use the hands-on reading to familiarize myself with this wonderful vehicle. I've already decided I am going to purchase 1-3 more.
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Old 09-10-2003, 06:14 PM
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Location: USA
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If you have consistent lifter noise that doesn't go away with synthetic oil (Mobil-1 15W-50) in the crankcase, you probably have one or more collapsed lifters. This is not uncommon. There's a procedure in the manual on how to test them - basically get the engine hot, pull the valve cover, and press down on the lifters which are on the cam's base circle (not compressed). The lifter should NOT press down easily - should be rock hard. If they squish down, they're bad. I had 5 of 12 fail this test. You'll need to test a few, turn the crank a bit, test a few more, etc. They're ~$25 each new.

The timing chain shouldn't be stretched much in 132kmi unless dino oil was used and not changed often. Check stretch, if less than 4 degrees forget it, if 4 or more, replace the chain (requires crimp tool rental).

The factory manuals are intended for mechanics, not to hold the hands of DIY'ers. The more you use them, the more you'll discover they're actually quite good - just not as verbose as Haynes! You can get a Haynes W124 manual on eBay or, it's a Euro book not normally sold in the USA. It's ok as an extra reference to the factory manuals.

Dave M.
Boise, ID

1997 E420 - 155kmi (Bugeyes)
1994 E420 - 145kmi (Blondie)
1993 500E - 193kmi (Lollipop)
1992 400E - 189kmi (Stinky Dirty)
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Old 09-10-2003, 09:22 PM
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Location: Evansville, Indiana
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No shims on the tappets. Either good or bad, nothing to do but replace or live with the noise.

Replace the two small o-rings on the oil filter "stem" next time you change the oil, they hold oil in the tappet oil gallery, and they are not in the filter box -- never get changed and leak. Any o-ring that filts will work.

1972 220D ?? miles
1988 300E 200,012
1987 300D Turbo killed 9/25/07, 275,000 miles
1985 Volvo 740 GLE Turobodiesel 218,000
1972 280 SE 4.5 165, 000 - It runs!
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Old 09-10-2003, 09:43 PM
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gsxr and Peter
I will get a Haynes W124 manual and check the condition of the lifters. During my search jaunts, I read the post on testing you referenced.

I should be receiving my shipment any day from Fastlane and I ordered the oil filter stem o-rings. When I did my first oil/filter change I noticed that the oil passage was quite restricted and the o-rings were marginal. Both will get attention during an earlier than scheduled oil/filter change.
Thanks again.
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